Checking in at the ChinDian Cafe

Do you know about the ChinDian Cafe? The Asian fusion cafe at 1500 E. Hennepin is owned by the husband and wife team of Thomas Gnanapragasam and Nina Wong. Thomas is an ethnic Tamil who grew up in Malaysia, while Nina is ethnically Chinese but grew up in Vietnam, so their menu is a rich blend of Asian flavors, ranging from Vietnamese spring rolls and Indian hot and sour soup to … [Read more...]

Hey Spitz! You call that wrap a döner?

Maybe I over-reacted. I had ordered a $9 döner sandwich at Spitz, a hip new chain restaurant on East Hennepin, expecting a nice juicy sandwich stuffed with real meat - like you get when you order a Döner sandwich in Istanbul or Vienna, or when you order shawarma at one of the better Middle Eastern restaurants in town. So when the bartender set this wrap down in front of me, … [Read more...]

Tee Belachew is back with a new Ethiopian-Asian restaurant

I was really bummed last year when Tee Belachew closed T's Place, his restaurant and music club on East Lake Street. It has been replaced by the Addis Ababa, which also serves good Ethiopian cuisine, and world music, but Tee's was something special - possibly the only Ethiopian-Malaysian fusion restaurant in the world. Tee learned to cook Malaysian cuisine when he partnered … [Read more...]

Scena Tavern: where Happy Hour never ends – CLOSED

Suddenly, the hip new Scena Tavern in Uptown is my new favorite Happy Hour go-to. Except that Happy Hour is a bit of a misnomer: In the dining room, Happy Hour is from 4 to 7 p.m., and again from 10 p.m. to midnight, but on the ground-level and second-floor patios, the HH menu is served from 4 to close. When we dine in Uptown, it's usually out of laziness, rather than by … [Read more...]

Now Open: Moroccan Flavors at the Midtown Global Market

The name might not be familiar, but there’s a good chance you have enjoyed Hassan Ziadi’s cooking before. His professional resume includes work at many top Twin Cities restaurants, ranging from Un Deux Trois and Vincent A Restaurant to the Loring Pasta Bar and Sanctuary - as well as stints in Marrakesh and Doha. But you probably haven’t experienced what this talented chef … [Read more...]

Hoban Korean BBQ: First Look

I love Korean cuisine, and I have been a fan of Hoban Korean Restaurant in Eagan for many years. So I looked forward to the opening of the new Hoban Korean BBQ in Uptown with great anticipation. Last week, we checked it out. First, the good news. The new Hoban is strikingly stylish, with flagstone walls and marble tabletops. K-pop music videos on the big screen behind the … [Read more...]

Great Middle Eastern fare at Gold Medal Market & Deli

From the outside, there is no way you could tell that the Gold Medal Market and Deli, 1020 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis, offers a first-rate selection of Middle Eastern fare, including a well-stocked deli counter and a weekday lunch buffet, prepared by one of the Twin Cities' most talented Middle Eastern cooks. For many years, Hayat Jermanous was the chef at Sindbad's … [Read more...]

Cossetta: Destinazione Italia in St. Paul!

There is a “Little Italy” in most American cities where Italians settled in any numbers, especially at the turn of the last century, but except for the very large Italian-American neighborhoods of New York City, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco, they reveal only a limited flavor of the real thing. The Twin Cities were also first settled by Italian immigrants at the end of … [Read more...]

Donghae: Korean cuisine in downtown Minneapolis

I love Korean cuisine, but I hate driving all the way to Eagan (Hoban), Columbia Heights (Dong Yang) or Fridley (King's Korean) or even Snelling Avenue in St. Paul (Mirror of Korea, Sole) to get it. The Korea Cafe and Tofu House in Stadium Village are okay when I really need a kimchi fix, but both are pretty limited. So I have been delighted to discover a first-rate Korean … [Read more...]

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